26 OCTOBER 1878, Page 1

Sir Stafford Northcote denies that he has been stumping the

Midland Counties this week on behalf of the Government, so we must assume that he has not been stumping them, but only going through one or two of them, making as many speeches as it is well possible for a man to make in the course of a single week. But he has certainly made three speeches at Bir- mingham, two at Wolverhampton, and one at Dudley, in the course of four days; and what more he could have done, if ho really were " stumping " the Midland Counties, it is difficult to imagine. These speeches in all fill between thirteen and fourteen columns of the Times, but the substance of them—if we may venture to use such a term as substance for what is so unsub- stantial—might be telegraphed in a few lines : —He is in favour of finely graduated schools for the children of the dangerous or potentially dangerous classes, from industrial schools down to reformatories ; he thinks the taxation very moderate for a year of extreme military precaution, though not of actual war ; he calculates that if we were to restore the high taxes of the last year of the Crimean war, we should be able to raise an extra £25,000,000 beyond what we raise now ; he thinks there is reason for " anxiety and watchfulness " as to the execution of the Treaty of Berlin ; he agrees with Mr. Cross that hitherto our policy has been to keep Afghanistan strong, independ- ent and friendly,—so long as we mean " truly strong, truly inde- pendent, and truly friendly," and not merely professing to be so ; and he hopes the people of Great Britain will be content to trust the Indian policy to the Government. He thinks Cyprus will not cost us above £100,000 a year, and that we may make of it a sort of model farm, for the Sultan to copy in the administration of Asia Minor ; he thinks the Turkish Empire ought, by all means in our power, to be sustained ; that Russian ambition ought, by all means in our power, to be repressed ; and he has a great admira- tion for Lord Beaconsfield. Add to this that he takes all his positions doubtfully and not confidently ; that he qualifies all his hopes with a fear and all his congratulations with a warning ; that he is not quite pleased with the effect of the last Reform Bill on the quality of the House of Commons, though delighted with its recent effect on the balance of parties ;—and you have a fair picture of those very mild inclinations towards belief, which occupy the foreground of Sir Stafford Northcote's political horizon.